Share/Tsaragi: When Killing, Destruction Returned to Land

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    It was another day of tragedy for the families of victims of the recent Share/Tsaragi attack.  In case you do not know, the two communities are located in Ifelodun and Edu Local Government Areas of Kwara State. The state Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed hails from Share. As used to be the case, the resurgent crisis is said to be perpetrated by yet-unknown persons, writes MOSUNMOLA AYOBAMI in Ilorin.

    Share and Tsaragi Communities in Kwara State are no stranger to the incessant communal clashes. Also, those behind the attacks are not unknown to them. Five persons, mainly men, were reported killed in the latest attack, which occurred on Tuesday, August 2, 2016. Five others were also arrested by the police. The crisis occurred just when the Kwara State Government had concluded plans to implement the report of the ad hoc Commission of Inquiry set up in the wake of the December 2015 crisis in the area. The report was considered and approved by the government and a White Paper issued on it.  But just as the implementation of the report would begin, trouble broke out on August 2, in the same communities. The government immediately imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew. The curfew has since been lifted. Calm has since returned to the area.

    …And Calm Returns

    When WESTERN POST Correspondent visited Share last week, she met a calm and sleepy community. But some soldiers deployed in the area in the wake of the crisis are still keeping vigil. The people are going about their normal activities as if it was not there the conflict broke out a few weeks earlier. “We are going about our normal activities. There is no problem again,” a carpenter told this writer in Share.

    The state Police Command Public Relations Officer Ajayi Okasanmi also claimed the people of both communities now go about their normal activities. He said he visited the community recently with the state’s Commissioner of Police.

    “We are going to get to the root of the matter. The Deputy Governor, Elder Peter Kisira, was also there last Monday to assess the situation,” he said.

    On the five persons arrested shortly after the renewed crisis on August 2, 2016, the state PPRO told WESTERN POST Correspondent in his office last week that the people were found to be innocent. But he said the command had also arrested one of the five alleged perpetrators of the attack. Violence was unleashed on some Tsaragi residents who were harvesting on a “disputed farmland”.  He said four others were still on the run.

    “We have arrested one of the five alleged perpetrators of the attack while the remaining four are been trailed. The arrested one is not going to be paraded so as to get the other four arrested.

    “The place is calm now. The cause of the crisis was a parcel of land the two communities are laying claim to. What happened is that it was not Share residents that killed those victims. The arrested perpetrator said each time he saw the Tsaragi residents, he always felt bad, remembering the havoc done to his people the last time and for killing his Quran teacher during the last unrest.”

    According to him, “Melon was planted on the disputed land and what makes the situation so pathetic is that the people went to the Emir to request for his permission to harvest the produce, and he granted the permission. The suspect in our custody said when he saw the people on the farm he was infuriated, asking himself why the people were allowed to harvest the produce on the farm land that had led to the loss of some lives, unknown to him that he was speaking aloud. He said four other persons around him were equally enraged and they invaded the farm and attacked those harvesting on the farm.”

    The PPRO said: “Although the perpetrators are Share residents who were on vengeance mission, for now we are not parading them.”

    December 2015 Crisis…

    The December 2015 crisis had erupted over a parcel of land. The clash led to the destruction of houses, schools and other valuables. The government then set up a commission of enquiry to look into the matter and make recommendations to it. Justice Suleiman Akanbi headed the commission. Receiving the report of the commission from Justice Akanbi at the Government House, Ilorin, Governor Ahmed had said: “I have no doubt that the recommendations will provide lasting solutions to the communal clash between Share and Tsaragi communities and ensure peace in both communities. Let me assure you that the commission’s report will be thoroughly examined and the recommendations implemented to the fullest.”

    Justice Akanbi had said at the time that 23 memoranda were received from both communities while witnesses were summoned as well. He was of the view that if the recommendations of the commission were fully implemented, there would be a lasting solution to the perennial clash between the Share and Tsaragi people.

    But the reverse has been the case with the renewed crisis this time round, claiming more lives, giving the impression that rather than abate, the conflict is worsening.

    Sources close to the two communities said the victims of the August 2 skirmish were mainly Nupes from Tsaragi who were resident at Obadare Village, which belongs to Share. The victims were identified as Aliyu Issah, Muhmini, Alhaji Saba, Madu Issa and Kadiri.

    Prior to Attack…

    It was gathered that prior to the attack, the Nupe had written an appeal letter to the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Gambari, asking for his intervention. They had claimed in the letter that they ran away from their settlement to their ancestral homeland in the wake of the earlier attack on them during the first clash between Share and Tsaragi people. The letter, which was signed by Issa Aliyu and Jiya Aliyu on behalf of Nupe Community of Obadare, also pledged the readiness of the Nupe people to abide by the conditions of their Share hosts. They asked to be allowed to return and harvest their crops, which had been abandoned while they fled. It was alleged that the Share people acceded to the request, which prompted the Nupe to return to Obadare, but that they were attacked soon after they returned by people suspected to be from Share.

    However, a source in Share community, who is also an indigene of the area, said the attack was between Fulani and Tsaragi people and not between Share and Tsaragi communities. The source, who confirmed that there was no indigene of Share community among the victim of the clash, said his people had no connection with the attack. Though the state government quickly waded into the crisis by imposing a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the affected communities and security men were also deployed there, however, much more is expected from the government in order to find a lasting solution to the perennial fracas in the two communities so that every inhabitants of Kwara can sleep with their eyes closed.

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